one sharpie at a time

THE THING ABOUT being a shy, picky pianist is that it’s hard to practice your art. Either you can’t find a good sound (plastic keys just don’t feel right), or you get roped into entertaining people (not my forte). You just want to be alone with a Steinway, dang it!



Faced with such a predicament, the shy, picky pianist must find other media of expression.

Trying new forms of art is awkward at first. As you try to plié and sauté, your muscles long for the ease with which your fingers ran along the keys. As you think about starting a poem, your mind wanders to memories of getting lost with the piano for hours with no one to please.

So when you’re asked to create a character named Sofi who is going to tell stories to the children at one of your programs, you panic. You frantically Google-search “How to make a puppet” and immediately wish you hadn’t as you recall childhood arts-and-crafts trauma.

Why do people keep asking me to do things I suck at? you think.

That’s when you realize something: The reason you “suck” at something is that you haven’t had enough practice. The reason you can play piano is not because you’re Asian, as your friends in Colombia like to joke, but because you practiced every day for 12 years of your life (well, minus Sundays and holidays, since your family took rest pretty seriously).

So you grab the nearest pen and paper and go to work. You can’t give them a Mona Lisa, but you can offer your 4th-grade-best. As your friend Jack told you in college, anyone can draw – you just need to notice things and practice.

Soon what had been a source of stress becomes a stress-reliever. Not only are you supporting community development, but you are also learning a new skill. You’re relieved to learn that what matters in the end is not the end result but the purpose behind it: to help kids understand their Creator’s love.

Plus, you get to color for work.


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